These Honored Dead
Jonathan F. Putnam

Book cover image

Narrated By: Lloyd James

Duration: 8 hours and 53 minutes

What to expect

Joshua Speed, the enterprising second son of a wealthy plantation owner, has struck off on his own. But before long he makes a surprising and crucial new acquaintance—a freshly minted lawyer by the name of Abraham Lincoln.

When an orphaned girl from a neighboring town is found murdered and suspicion falls on her aunt, Speed makes it his mission to clear her good name. Of course, he’ll need the legal expertise of his unusual new friend. Together, Lincoln and Speed fight to bring justice to their small town. But as more bodies are discovered and the investigation starts to come apart at the seams, there’s one question on everyone’s lips: Does Lincoln have what it takes to crack his first murder case?

Inspired by actual events from the American frontier, Jonathan Putnam’s thrilling debut, These Honored Dead, brings a verve and vigor to the historical mystery genre that readers haven’t seen since Caleb Carr’s The Alienist.


Crime and mystery: private investigator / amateur detectives, Political / legal thriller, Historical crime and mysteries

Listen to a sample

“Putnam combines a historian’s understanding of character and context with a remarkable narrative drive.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

“This book is a time machine, and the mystery at its core is equally elegant and brutal.”

Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A masterfully crafted modern novel….the most gripping debut in years.”

Alex Grecian, New York Times bestselling author

“Putnam takes the real-life friendship of Lincoln and Speed and spins a wonderful fictional history of their first years together…A well-researched book that will appeal to fans of historical fiction and a book that should be on a Lincoln buff’s reading list.”

Historical Novel Society

“Does a fine job presenting a recognizable young Abraham Lincoln…The courtroom scenes are nicely dramatic, and the final reveal a plausible surprise.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Narrator Lloyd James presents the young Lincoln as folksy, compassionate, and wise to the ways of the court system. As Lincoln, James speaks in a clearly enunciated, slightly high-pitched voice with just a trace of a Kentucky accent. James’ other voices seem equally suited to the vibrant characters, including the slave owner Joshua Speed, a real-life friend of Lincoln.”


“Lawyer Putnam bases his debut novel on a solid historical foundation, introducing the issue of emancipation, in the first of what looks to be a winning historical-mystery series.”


"Anatomy of a Murder, frontier style; Lincoln lives again in this sharp and engaging period mystery. Great characters, solid research, and effective twists.”

Stephen Gallagher, author of The Kingdom of Bones and The Bedlam Detective

”Frontier justice was not the jurisprudence we know today, as this well-researched debut mystery by a lawyer and amateur Lincoln scholar reveals…Eye-opening historical details on hunting runaway slaves and nineteenth-century poorhouses will interest readers who enjoy works by Caleb Carr and E. L. Doctorow.”

Library Journal

“Putnam combines the historical fact of a lifelong friendship with lively fiction in a debut set on the edge of the American frontier.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Young Mr. Lincoln makes a crackerjack detective. He and the narrator, Speed, are a fine Holmes and Watson. Putnam’s book is historical mystery at its best.”

Will Thomas, Barry and Shamus Award–nominated author of Anatomy of Evil

“Lawyer Putnam bases his debut novel on a solid historical foundation…in the first of what looks to be a winning historical-mystery series.”